Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. – Deuteronomy 32:1-2
This passage has convinced me that God has a lot to say through water and water imagery in the Old Testament. Even in seemingly unlikely places like Deuteronomy. What an amazing picture of how God loves us and wants to provide for us “tender plants”.
This passage comes at the beginning of what has been referred to as the Song of Moses. It is one of the last messages Moses is asked to convey to the Israelites before he crosses over to be with God. It is reminiscent of the song that Moses shared just after the Israelites were saved from the Egyptians at the parting of the Red Sea. I explored some of the imagery in this passage in a previous post about How God is like Water, but every “rain” is different so let’s explore each part of this passage anew.
The first part God describes His teaching falling like rain. I am a university professor and I wish my teaching could fall like rain sometimes. There are days when I feel like the students all have their umbrellas up and raincoats on! I suspect God feels similar about us sometimes as he tries to teach us so that we can avoid trouble — out comes the raincoats and umbrellas and we become as stiff necked as the Israelites were. Sometimes we just need to embrace the rain and put away the raincoats.
The second part describes God’s word descending like dew. Dew is a really interesting form of water. From a scientific perspective it shows up when air with water vapor in it cools down. When the air cools its capacity to hold water is decreased (cold air can hold less water vapor than warm air) so some of the water condenses on plants and the earth as dew. God’s interactions with the Israelites thus far in the bible have been as a Godly Condensate in the form of a cloud. In a sense all God’s interactions with us “tender plants” come in the form of a condensate of God’s spirit — the cloud, the Holy Spirit, and the most amazing “condensate” of all Jesus.
The last part of the passage is my favorite. The picture of these tender shoots receiving life-giving showers from God is so powerful. God is also honest here. He admits that abundant rain will fall on us “tender plants” at times. This abundant rain can sometimes feel very exciting and amazing, but it can also feel very scary. God’s Rain that fell in the time of Noah was not a light shower, but the rainbow that came after was amazing. The reality is without rains we get no rainbows. So does God want to wipe us “tender plants” out by abundant rains. I do not think so. I think that God knows we need all forms of rain — rain showers, dew, and abundant rain to grow strong and courageous.
Prayer: God help us to receive all the teaching and words you rain down us so that we can grow strong and courageous.SDG